Monday Mornings with Madison

Bosses’ Top 10 Pet Peeves about Employees

There are all kinds of bosses in the world.  Management styles vary as widely as people’s personalities.  There is the “do it the way I tell you” directive boss, and the “firm but fair” authoritative manager whose goal is to provide long-term direction and vision.  Then there is the affiliative supervisor who seeks to create harmony amongst employees and management, as well as the “everyone has input” democratic director who is focused on building commitment and encouraging teamwork.  There is also the pacesetting exec who is all about setting high standards and accomplishing tasks and the coaching boss, whose focus is on providing opportunities for professional development. Continue reading

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Relocating for Work

With advances in technology, telecommunications, and transportation, the business world has gotten a whole lot smaller.  Companies, once compelled to expand in geographic proximity to their corporate headquarters (because greater distance would strain management and communications), can now do business on a global scale.  The global marketplace has become more reachable.  For example, in 1936, DELAG Airline  — the world’s first airline to use an aircraft in revenue service — offered passenger flights from Friedrichshafen, Germany to Lakehurst, NJ (4,000 miles) that took 53 to 78 hours westbound, and 43 to 61 hours eastbound.   That made managing a far-away business challenging, especially without Internet, fluid phone service, or computers. Today, 80 years later, a direct flight from New York to Hong Kong (8,047 miles) takes only about 16 hours.  Aviation, cell phones, Skype, computers, and the Cloud have all but erased many of the hindrances of doing business internationally… making the world a whole lot smaller.  But, it could also be said that the business world has also gotten bigger.  Global markets have multiplied business opportunities exponentially, and not just for mega multinational corporations.  Opportunities to grow abound for even the smallest startups.   In that sense, the business world has gotten exponentially bigger. Continue reading

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Marketing Focus: Client Acquisition vs. Client Retention

Every business wants to increase their bottom line.  And every company promises growth in revenue and earnings, but only one in nine companies is able to achieve sustainable, profitable growth. That explains why businesses spend a lot of money on activities to achieve profitable growth!  Statista, the Statistical Portal, estimates that over 180 billion U.S. dollars was spent in advertising in the United States in 2015.   And that is expected to reach $200 billion this year.  Those funds are being spent basically to either acquire or retain customers.  Or both. Continue reading

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Living “In the Moment”

Michael drives to work.  He passes hundreds of other drivers, obeys all the signs, heeds traffic lights, avoids pedestrians, merges lanes, adjusts the speed of his vehicle and ultimately parks.  He does all this and later has practically no recollection of it at all.  He got from point A to point B on “mental auto-pilot”, where his brain drew on habits to navigate, while his thinking mind was elsewhere.   He might have been planning the day ahead.  Or he might have agonizing about a cacophony of demands in his life.  Or worrying about a problem.  But for the 45 minutes it took him to drive to work, his mind was elsewhere.  The real question is:  how many tasks are performed in a day with little or no thought at all?  Brushing teeth.   Getting dressed for work.  Drinking a cup of coffee.  Eating lunch.  Working out at the gym.  Carpooling.  Cooking dinner.   Each day blends in with the next, and suddenly the year is half over. Continue reading

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Traits to Avoid When Hiring a New Employee

According to a survey by of 639 small business owners in the U.S., it cost an average of $6,480 for small business owners to replace a “wrong hire” in 2015.  That estimate is on the low end of the spectrum.  The U.S. Department of Labor estimates it can cost on average one-third of a new hire’s annual salary to find a replacement.  Others believe it’s even higher than that. According to a study by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), it can cost up to five times a wrong hire’s annual salary, depending on the circumstances. The person’s position, how long that person was in that position, and the size of the company all contribute to this cost.   According to SHRM, a “wrong hire” at a big company earning $80,000 per year (having been in that job over a year) could cost up to $400,000 to replace.  And the “wrong hire” of a CEO in a national company can cost millions to replace. Continue reading

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10 Invaluable Qualities in Employees that require Zero Talent – Part 2

When looking to hire employees, managers often confuse talents, skills, knowledge and strengths.  A talent is an innate ability, while a skill is an ability that is learned and nurtured over time.   A person might be a naturally-gifted writer even while never having taken any kind of writing class.  That is a talent.  That same person might also take a course in online advertising and attain the Google Adwords Certification.  That is a skill.  If that person attends a college and takes a host of classes in business, sales and marketing, that person attains knowledge – and perhaps a degree – in business administration.  If that person then gets a job in which she is using her writing talents, online marketing skills, and sales and marketing knowledge, over time this will become her strength.  A strength is the ability to consistently produce a positive outcome through superior performance of specific tasks.   When a company recruits and hires staff, it looks for people who have particular talents, skills and knowledge. Continue reading

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10 Invaluable Qualities in Employees that require Zero Talent – Part 1

In the search for top talent, employers typically cite the most difficult, technical skills needed to do the job.  For instance, a current ad on LinkedIn for a CFO seeks a candidate with:  “Extensive experience in financial analysis, identification of month end financial drivers, and forecasting.”  The ad adds that the right candidate will “drive growth through product diversification and geographic expansion, and provide leadership and vision for all finance-related activities in the market, including developing and monitoring progress against Annual Operating Plan.”  This ad is designed to filter out the unqualified and underqualified.    But what the ad doesn’t address are the soft skills and qualities that ensure the candidate fits well with the organization.  Those are either touched on during the interview process briefly or are not addressed at all.  And while the inability to do the job does account for why some people fail at their jobs, most people are fired or laid off from jobs due either to personality traits or work habits that don’t fit with the employer. Continue reading

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Dealing with Buyer’s Remorse

The very recent vote by Great Britain to leave the European Union – dubbed by media as the Brexit — has sent shock waves through financial markets, political institutions, and businesses worldwide.  Despite polls prior to the election indicating that the vote to leave would prevail, the world was taken seemingly by surprise when it came to pass.  The pound sterling tumbled to a 31-year low.  British political parties were thrown into upheaval.  Stock markets around the globe took dives.  And the fall out is far from over.  But, apparently, many who voted to leave the E.U. are now saying that they wish they could take back their vote.  Kelvin Mackenzie, a columnist for the British Sun newspaper which backed the leave, said he was suffering from “buyer’s remorse,” regretting his vote.  He was not alone.   Emily Tierney, a columnist for the Independent newspaper, wrote “If I could take my vote back now, I would. I’m ashamed of myself.”   They are not alone.  A Survation poll carried out for the Mail on Sunday after the Brexit vote found that of the 17.4 million who voted to leave, 1.1 million say that they wish they had voted Remain.  Given that the leave vote prevailed by only 4% of the votes cast – or 1.2 million votes — that is a monumental case of Buyer’s Remorse. Continue reading

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To Sleep Perchance to Succeed

Part 2 – Sleep and Work

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control indicates that sleeping less than seven hours per night is associated with increased risk for diabetes, stroke, frequent mental distress, and all-cause mortality.  It also can contribute to heart disease, and increases a person’s likelihood to catch a cold and/or develop an infection.  Obviously, all of these health issues affect punctuality, absenteeism, and morale.   Excessive absences result in decreased productivity and can have a major effect on company finances. Continue reading

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To Sleep Perchance to Thrive and Succeed

Part 1 – Sleep and Health

For many professionals, travel is a regular part of life.  Networking conferences.  Meetings with clients.   Training sessions.  Visits to regional offices, stores or plants.  And when work stops, vacations typically mean even more travel.  While many people consider business and personal travel a luxury and privilege, those who travel often know that travel has its drawbacks.   Besides the inevitable transportation hassles that come with getting there and back, there are other factors that make travel challenging.  Lack of sleep is one of the biggest challenges. Continue reading

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